Park School is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and associated issues of racial justice, as shared in our Anti-Racism Action Plan and our Strategic Plan. These ideals are an integral part of the Park School mission, and the entire community — parents, students, alumni, parents of alumni, grandparents, and employees — holds collective responsibility for advancing DEI efforts.
To further the work we are doing in pursuit of a more just world, we are pleased to announce the launch of the DEI Fellow and DEI Programming Initiative. This five-year investment (beginning in 2021), made possible through the generosity of several donors in combination with funding from Park School, will support a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Fellow and will support the expansion of DEI programming for students in each division.
Over the past several years, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has partnered with faculty, students, parents, administrators, and alumni to expand programs, events, and curricular efforts in the classroom, on campus, and in the community. With dedicated funding now in place, the DEI Office will have enhanced support from a full-time DEI Fellow. The DEI Fellow will work in partnership with the Director of DEI to provide thoughtful and robust Pre-K–12 student programming with respect to equity and inclusion, as well as contribute to other projects and programming on Old Court Road and beyond.
By bringing a DEI Fellow to the school, we hope to support the growth and development of a new generation of educators, ready to mentor our students, learn about and contribute to the student experience across our Pre-K–12 school community, and build their capacity for leadership in the independent school world. Each fellow will be named for a one-year residency, with the possibility of renewal for a second year. We plan to welcome our first DEI Fellow this fall (2021).
The initiative will also provide additional support for Pre-K through Grade 12 DEI programming as well as broader community efforts, building upon the school's ongoing DEI work. Consistent with Park School's Anti-Racism Action Plan, the work supported by the initiative prioritizes the auditing and mapping of Pre-K through Grade 12 anti-racism teaching and learning; supports the implementation of foundational curricula that center the diverse experiences of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community; provides resources to identify and track objectives and outcomes of curricula; supports ongoing and new programming to foster student racial identity development; expands affinity spaces in all three divisions; and supports the implementation of all program-related aspects of Park's DEI and anti-racism commitments.
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Courtney Rollins shared, “This new investment by community members and by Park School in support of the work of the DEI Office demonstrates meaningful commitment to equity and social justice. I am energized by the opportunity to bring more people into this work, to support our students, and to continue building our DEI program for current and future Park students.”
Head of School Dan Paradis continued, “As an institution and as a community, we must embrace the work necessary to combat racism. While we have much to do in the months and years ahead, we are fully committed to the ongoing efforts needed to address the legacy of oppression that many of our BIPOC students, families, alumni, and community members continue to face. Investment in the DEI Fellow and DEI Programming Initiative is one of many steps we are taking to engage in and prioritize anti-racism work.”